How does an object persist through change? How can a book, for example, open in the morning and shut in the afternoon, persist through a change that involves the incompatible properties of being open and being shut? The goal of this reader is to inform and reframe the philosophical debate around persistence; it presents influential accounts of the problem that range from classic papers by W. V. O. Quine, David Lewis, and Judith Jarvis Thomson to recent work by contemporary philosophers. The authors take on the question of persistence by examining three broad approaches: perdurantism, which holds that change over time is analogous to change over space; exdurantism, according to which identity over time is analogous to identity across possible worlds; and endurantism, which holds that ordinary objects persist by enduring. Each of these approaches appears to be coherent, but each also has its own metaphysical problems. Persistence includes papers that argue for perdurantism, exdurantism, or endurantism, as well as papers that explore some metaphysical difficulties challenging each account. In this way the collection allows readers to balance the trade-offs of each approach in terms of intuitiveness, theoretical attractiveness, and elegance.
Yuri Balashov, William Carter, Graeme Forbes, Sally Haslanger, Katherine Hawley, H. S. Hestevold, Mark Hinchliffe, Mark Johnston, Roxanne Marie Kurtz, David K. Lewis, Ned Markosian, D. H. Mellor, W. V. O. Quine, Theodore Sider, Richard Taylor, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Peter van Inwagen, Dean Zimmerman